We loved Iris!
Isn’t it lovely when you have nothing planned or booked but stumble upon a cosy packed restaurant that has space for 2?
We visited Iris on Thistle Street on our last Saturday night “doing” the Edinburgh festival. We were starving after a fun packed hour watching Bob Downe the Prince of polyester at the Famous Spiegeltent in St Andrews Square Gardens and at 9pm with no booking were keen to get a table somewhere. We decided to have a wander along Thistle Street which is packed with independent shops and restaurants, but slightly off the beaten track, even although it is 1 minute from George Street.
Iris has been recommended twice by friends so decided to pop in to see if they had space for 2.
First impression is that it is cosy and had a lovely bustling atmosphere. It was very busy, the staff were brilliant and “yes” they did have a table for 2.
We chose a Romanian wine (first timers) Calusari Pinot Noir with it’s juicy berry flavours with velvety finish at £22.50. The wine list had a good choice with prices starting at around £16 per bottle and rising to £35.50 for Paul Delaine Chablis and £44.95 for Chateauneuf Du Pape Domaine De Nalys. If you’re having a big celebration they also have Dom Perignon Vintage 2004 at £180 per bottle. No celebration here and outwith our budget!
Iris has a set menu and a daily changing specials menu.
The starters from the standard menu are:
Steamed mussels with toasted pine nuts, bacon and fresh basil cream £6.90
Seared Scallops with black pudding, pea puree and crispy pandects £8.50
Slow cooked iberico pig cheek with puy lentils and kohl rabi £6.25
Smoked partridge salad with rosemary dressing and deep fried quail’s egg £6.50
Deep fried risotto balls with feta stuffing and spicy dip £5.50
King prawns cooked with chilli, coriander and garlic £6.90
Fried Chorizo and morcilla with caramelised apple £5.50
Baked artichokes with blue cheese and walnut stuffing £5.50
We both decided to choose our starters from the specials menu – Pea and mint soup and Tempura cod with tartare sauce. It’s not often you find a menu where you fancy everything on it, but we found the range of dishes absolutely brilliant and will certainly be back to try everything else!
The soup was hot, tasty and well seasoned. You can’t really go wrong making Pea and mint soup, and I admit it was a boring choice of starter, but I was hungry and the thought of lovely crusty bread and hot soup to start with hit the spot. The bread arrived just after we had chosen our meals, it was nae bad, but was the low point of the meal, and we later spotted bread mix packets on the kitchen shelves on our way to the toilets. The bread was long gone when the soup arrived and it would have been nice to have been asked if we wanted a top up.
The Tempura cod was excellent. Good sized chunks of cod in a crisp tempura batter with very nice flavours and homemade tartare sauce. This was a really good sized portion for just over £5.
For Main course we had Pheasant breast stuffed with whisky haggis, wrapped in bacon and served with creamed leeks, another special and also Roast duck breast coated with drambuie and raspberries at £13.90.
Being the end of August I thought it only right to have the pheasant and wasn’t disappointed. The bird was moist with good flavour and the haggis not too spicy to detract from the delicate flavours. I didn’t get very much whisky from the haggis but this didn’t detract from the overall combination of flavours. The creamed leeks worked well and were fab with the chips I chose to accompany the dish.
Side dishes are separate and you can mix and match to suit your dish. We liked this and it’s ideal for folks with certain allergies.
Chips were £2 extra and other options included sweet and sour roasted tomatoes £3.70 and fried sweet potato with chilli and coriander mayo at £2.50.
Raymond opted for the duck….it’s always a battle as to who gets the duck as we both love it! My pheasant won over duck this time so we were both happy!
The duck was served with a Drambuie sauce and raspberries. It was perfectly cooked and the sauce and raspberries worked so well with it. The taste of the fresh raspberry along with the duck was like a taste explosion. We have never thought of pairing the two before but it works so well. Raymond opted for potato and mixed vegetables as his accompaniment at £2.25
Other main courses on the standard menu included:
Ribeye steak with black pepper and a good squeeze of lemon £17.90
Baked salmon fillet served on chorizo, broad beans and courgettes £12.50
Roast chicken supreme stuffed with langoustines in garlic cream £16.90
Lamb Loin and haggis wrapped in puff pastry and coated in a black pepper sauce £17.90
Monkfish tail wrapped in pancetta, served on braised lettuce, peas and dill £13.90
Whole boneless sea bass cooked en papillote with hot ginger and lemongrass prawns £14.50
Gingered tofu, cashew nut and mango salad £9.90
The desert menu didn’t disappoint but we were just too full to indulge on this occasion.
The specials for the day included
Almond and orange cake with elderflower sorbet
Creme Brulee and
Peach tart tatin and vanilla ice cream.
Whilst the standard menu offered:
Chocolate tart with fresh raspberries £5.50
Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla pod ice cream £5.50
Pistachio meringue with lime cream and strawberries £5.50
Lemon and ginger baked cheesecake £5.50
Vanilla pod ice cream £3.00
Various Sorbets £3.00
Cheese board £6.90
Overall we absolutely loved dining at Iris and would thoroughly recommend a visit for dinner. We haven’t tried lunch there yet but they have a smaller lunch menu with 2 courses for £13.95 and 3 for £16.95. You can book online rather than just chancing it like we did.
47a Thistle Street
Tel: 0131 220 2111